It’s been a busy month for Anonymous, the hacker/cyber-activist collective known for supporting Julian Assange’s WikiLeaks site: despite being occupied by efforts to assist anti-government protestors across the Middle East and Northern Africa (through a series of DDoS attacks on government websites), representatives from the group took some time to spar with the incendiary Westboro Baptist Church. On February 16, the church announced that it had received a threatening letter from Anonymous, and quickly issued a press release accusing Anonymous of being “crybaby hackers.” Anonymous denied involvement, hinting that Westboro had fabricated the story as a publicity stunt, but several of Westboro’s sites suffered subsequent DDoS attacks, allegedly the work of an independent hacker named the Jester.
Anonymous has also moved one step closer to becoming a household name: Stephen Colbert featured the group in a segment on his February 22 show, where he described their recent attack on the cyber security firm HBGary and its CEO, Aaron Barr. Comparing Barr’s hubris around exposing Anonymous’ members to a vulgar reinterpretation of The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest, Colbert deftly distilled Anonymous’ most recent exploits, which included compromising Barr’s social networking accounts and leaking personal e-mails containing Barr’s World of Warcraft handle and details of his divorce.
Huffington Post, Westboro clip